Zombies are loose in London… Again.
My Wii U hands-on time at the London showcase gave me the opportunity to play a variety of multiplayer experiences in games such as Nintendo Land, utilizing the Wii U Game Pad and Wiimotes. But when it was time to cast aside those modes and take on a single player zombie infested survival game in one of Ubisoft’s Wii U core titles, I was more than excited. This revolutionary new experience tests your survival skills as you take to the streets of London in the first person shooter ZombiU.
The Ubisoft representative handed me the Wii U Game Pad, which would be used for shooting and aiming, and interacting with the touch screen inventory. Beginning the game as the unknown male character, I found him standing on the streets of London looking towards Buckingham Palace.
Firmly gripping the Wii U Game Pad in both hands and placing my thumbs on each analogue stick, I began to learn the controls of moving my character. By pushing forward on the left analogue stick I began to walk, while the right analogue stick adjusted my view. There was no clear indication of why I was at this location, but I was fairly sure that the hand pistol I had equipped would come in handy for my survival. My view on the touch screen gave me a good indication of the environment around me. The interactive inventory and menu allowed me to equip guns, baseball bats and a selection of ammunition and health kits. Tapping the Wii U Gamepad touch screen, I could highlight my weapon of choice and simply tap and drag it from my inventory backpack when I required it. There is an option to individually select each item, or a ‘take all’ button when gathering loot, but I can imagine your inventory being filled up very quickly. Using the Left button I could aim my weapon, while the right button allowed me to fire, a pretty standard set up for a first person shooter, so nothing amazingly different from what you would expect.
The Ubisoft representative warned me beforehand that in the event of my sudden and unexpected death, such as by being bitten by a zombie, I would start the game as a different character, which I recall surprised me a little as I think it’s important to bond with a character throughout a storyline. Once equipped with my hand pistol, I headed out into the dark environment to experience this zombie-infested haven for myself. I felt completely isolated and wary of my surroundings. My first encounter with a zombie came when one lunged out of the shadows or an abandoned building, without any warning. The resulting melee didn’t go well, but after managing to move back a bit I quickly fired my gun and watched as the Zombie fell face first to the ground.
During my brief and gruesome experience, I was able to use my weapon’s scope to zoom in and out of the environment by tapping the touch screen, although this did feel a little fiddly. It is also possible to scan the environment with a night vision scan that can detect Zombies or crucial information and items, something I wish I had known before the Zombie lurker had jumped out on me.
There was a sense of great urgency to the game, as I moved the Wii U Game Pad around, trying to make sure there was nothing creeping up behind me. Reaction times were tested frequently, and I will admit that I didn’t fare very well as a hurried clout around the head really did nothing to the Zombie. Shooting them in the arm, for example, seemed to deter them for a while, but repeated bullets to the head are what is needed to take the shuffling dead down for good.
There was not a huge amount given away during this hands-on opportunity, but my initial impressions of ZombiU are good. Whether or not this Zombie infested core title can keep its audience interested is something we will just have to wait and see. Until then, practice your survival skills, London is about to be overrun…